Written by Tong Atak, Head of Solutions Mapping
On a recent visit to Bor, in Jonglei State, the South Sudan Accelerator Lab encountered communities adapting to change and deploying local solutions in the face of three challenges: localized conflict, COVID-19, and climate change-impacted flooding.
Positioned along the banks of the White Nile River and within the vast Sudd wetlands, communities in Jonglei State are no strangers to living with the rhythm of the water. For centuries, recurrent flood waters have come and gone, setting forth migration patterns for communities and their livestock.
Yet the floods in 2020 surpassed previous records dating back to the 1960’s. As flooding has become more severe and less predictable, more people have been displaced, and issues over land ownership arise as a key source of conflict. These disputes can spiral out of control and leave communities on all sides devastated.
Despite hardship in Jonglei State, local solutions to address challenges tell the story of persistence and ingenuity to protect and preserve life, livelihoods, and property.
We witnessed community-led peacebuilding initiatives healing years-long rifts. Fishermen are adapting their livelihoods to serve a greater community need. Youth have sprung to action providing critical flood response, creating democratic associations, funding their own food relief efforts, and harnessing radio to bring credible messages of peace to cattle camps. Here is a closer look at what we found: